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Short of drugs?: Call upon Operations and Supply Chain Management

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>7/06/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Operations and Production Management
Publication StatusAccepted/In press
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Purpose: This ‘impact pathways’ paper argues that operations and supply chain management (OSCM) could help address the worsening drug shortage problem in high-income countries. This significant societal problem poses difficult challenges to stakeholders given the complex and dynamic nature of drug supply chains. OSCM scholars are well positioned to provide answers, introducing new research directions for OSCM in the process.

Design/methodology/approach: To substantiate this, we carried out a review of stakeholder reports from six European countries and the academic literature.

Findings: There is little academic research and no fundamental agreement among stakeholders about causes of shortages. Stakeholders have suggested many government measures, but little evidence exists on their comparative cost-effectiveness.

Originality/value: We discuss three pathways of impactful research on drug shortages to which OSCM could contribute: (1) Developing an evidence-based system view of drug shortages; (2) Studying the comparative cost-effectiveness of key government interventions; (3) Bringing supply chain risk management into the government and economics perspectives and vice versa. Our study provides a baseline for future COVID-19-related research on this topic.